Bill W.’s First Draft of the Big Book Before the Disputed Compromise of 1939
(Excerpt From the Manuscript “Chapter # 1 THERE IS A SOLUTION”
Copied with Permission by Dick B. on Research at Stepping Stones)
Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
How Bill W. Wrote of the “Solution” Before the Compromised Later Big Book Drafts
• “The tremendous fact for every one of us has been the discovery of a common solution – a way out with which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action” (Page 2)
• “The main purpose of this book is to exhaustively, definitely and specifically answer those questions and to let you know what you can do about it” (Page 5)
• “But there is a solution, and how glorious was the knowledge of it to us. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our price, the confession of our sins of commission and commission which the process requires for its successful consummation, but we saw that it really worked in others” (Pages 9-10)
• “And the GREAT FACT is just this and no less; that all of us have had deep and effective religious experiences which have in every case revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s great universe” (Page 10).
• “The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that the Creator of you and me has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is to us new and beautiful and has there commenced to accomplish those things which by no stretch of the imagination were we humanly capable of” (Page 10)
• “After years of living on a basis which now seems to us wholly false, you are not going to get rightly related to your Creator in a minute. None of us has found God in six easy lessons, but He can be found by all who are willing to put the task ahead of all else” (Page 10)
• [Dr. Carl Jung told Rowland Hazard, wrote Bill:] “Sporadically, here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital religious experiences. . . his faith and his religious convictions were very good as far as they went, but that in his case, they did not spell the vital religious experience so absolutely imperative to displace his insanity with respect to matters alcoholic” (Page 11)
• “So. . . it began to look to us as though we must have a vital religious experience or perish. Our friend [Rowland Hazard] did finally have such an experience and we in our turn have sought the same happy end, with all of the ardor of drowning men clutching at straws. But what seemed at first to be a flimsy reed has proved to be a loving and powerful hand of God” (Page 11)
• “As a group, or as individuals, we have no desire to convince anyone that the true God can only be discovered in some particular way . . . If what we have learned, and felt, and seen, means anything at all, it indicates that all of us. . . . are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a new relationship upon very simple and understandable terms, the moment any of us become willing enough to do so. Therefore, we waste no time in the kind of religious disputation which has so frequently torn people apart” (Page 11)
• “Not all of us have joined religious bodies, but we are nearly all agreed that by so doing, each would be taking a step toward new growth and availability for God’s purpose” (Page 12)
• “The next few chapters are the personal narratives of several of us. In these accounts each person will describe in his own language and from his own point of view the way in which he happened to find the living God” (Page 12)
Notes for the Readers
1. Bill said that the solution was a “vital religious experience.” So did Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker in his first significant book, Realizing Religion. And so, as you can see here, did Dr. Carl G. Jung—who fathered the solution through advising Rowland.
2. The “vital religious experience” was explained by Bill W. as the need for a “defense;” but there was no mention of a “higher power.” Bill simply explained that Rowland had “placed himself beyond all human aid, and unless locked up, is virtually certain to die, or to go permanently insane” (Page 9)
3. The GREAT FACT, said Bill, was that “all of us” have had deep and effective religious experiences” (Page 10).
4. The solution, said Bill: “So it began to look to us as though we must have a vital religious experience or perish” (Page 11)
5. All of us, said Bill, are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a new relationship. (Page 11)
6. The author of each personal narrative “will describe in his own language and from his own point of view the way in which he happened to find the living God” (Page 12)
7. The result produced by seeking God and obtaining the solution, said Bill, is “The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that the Creator of you and me has entered into our hearts and lives in a way. . . which by no stretch of the imagination were we humanly capable of” (Page 10)
The Certainty, in the Minds of the First Three AAs, that Establishing a Relationship with the Creator Had Produced the Solution
On page 191 of the latest Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson is quoted as follows:
Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.
On page 181 of the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob Smith is quoted as follows:
If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. , , ,
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!
On page 191 of the same edition, A.A. Number Three (Bill Dotson) is quoted a follows:
I thought, I think I have the answer. Bill was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and had given God the credit for having done it, and he’s so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it.
That sentence, “The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease that I just want to keep telling people about it,” has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.
The Certainty Was Embodied in the Three Pertinent Ideas on Page 60 of the 4th edition
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.